Cataract Surgery Leads to Eye Damage: Patients

Several cataract patients who underwent a routine cataract surgery claim they're experiencing partial or complete blindness as a result.

Attorneys for the patients say they went into Key-Whitman Eye Center between Feb. 9 and 14 for a routine cataract surgery, receiving as part of the procedure an eye injection to aid their eye inflammation and irritation.

The injection replaces the need for using eye drops post-surgery.

"In the next 24 hours, patients' vision degenerated from the normal symptoms associated with cataracts to experiencing complete darkness. Affected patients report seeing spinning pinwheels of light, color blindness and a dark curtain after this procedure," according to the attorneys.

They and doctors at Key-Whitman Eye Center blame medication compounded at a local pharmacy, Guardian Pharmacy Services.

Curtis Cosby, of Royce City, claims he has lost vision in his right eye after undergoing the procedure.

"It was really blurry, as if looking through a defrosted window or something," says Cosby, who says he's been told he may not regain his vision.

"I chose to take an injection that something was wrong with, and it's eating up part of the tissue in the eye, and I'm going to lose my sight totally," he said.

His attorney, Andrew Sommerman, says Cosby can no longer work.

According to Key-Whitman Eye Center, a pharmacy expert concluded that the compounded antibiotic and steroid medication may be out of specifications and was not as represented to Key-Whitman.

"Our first priority was the wellness of the patients," said Dr. Jeffrey Whitman, president and chief surgeon at Key-Whitman Eye Center, in a statement. "We immediately referred patients showing symptoms to retinal specialists for examination and treatment at no cost to the patients. We also notified all patients who had cataract surgery during that time period of January 31 to February 21, 2017, and requested that they come in for an examination at no cost to them. Some patients did not experience any visual acuity issues. For those patients under the care of retinal specialists, some patients have regained normal – or close to normal – visual acuity. Others are apparently still experiencing visual impairment. All surgeons at the PRG Surgery Center who used the locally compounded medication were notified so that they could notify all affected patients."

"If you went to the pharmacy and they gave you a medication that wasn't made correctly, you'd be angry. I'm angry as well," Whitman said. "We've never seen a problem like that in the 30 years I've practiced."

"We've contacted the FDA and whatever agencies need to investigate to make sure they do more work on what happened to make sure it never happens again," Whitman added.

The compounding pharmacy, Guardian Pharmacy Services of Dallas, offered this response:

"A lab analysis is underway. We cannot make a comment yet," said Jack Munn, owner and president.

"You think you're prepared for everything, working towards the end, and you get cut short. I wasn't prepared to quit work. It happened too soon," Cosby said.

The compounding pharmacy is not affiliated with the national long-term care Guardian Pharmacy Services headquartered in Atlanta.

In a statement, Dr. Whitman says, "we have corresponded with all affected patients and have established a patient hotline at (214) 999-2333 for additional patient questions.”

Update: According to Dr. Jeffrey Whitman, while Cosby did receive surgery at the Key-Whitman Surgery Center, a doctor seperate from the Key-Whitman Eye Center performed the surgery. 

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